Langford Mayor Stew Young said the speculation tax will only kill jobs and drive housing prices up. (Black Press file photo)

Langford Mayor Stew Young said the speculation tax will only kill jobs and drive housing prices up. (Black Press file photo)

Speculation tax a ‘job killer’ says Langford mayor

Stew Young says province needs to invest in affordable housing

The province’s speculation tax that will be expanded to include homes in the Capital Regional District will have impacts on residents in the West Shore as well.

Langford Mayor Stew Young said the speculation tax will only kill jobs and drive housing prices up.

“It’s a job killer and it’s going to devalue homes,” he said. “The reason they’re [the province] putting the tax in really is to lower the cost of housing. We build affordable houses in Langford. We’re a family community and we just want to make sure that their values don’t get diminished because of a speculation tax.”

RELATED: Rural cabins, cottages exempted from speculation tax

The B.C. NDP government proposed the tax, which would start later this year at 0.5 per cent of the value of a home this fall for B.C. residents. For other Canadians, the tax rises to two per cent in 2019. Foreign property owners would pay the full two per cent tax starting in February 2019.

The tax would hit everyone who owns property — but doesn’t pay provincial income tax — in the Lower Mainland, Capital Regional District, Nanaimo Regional District, Kelowna and West Kelowna. The Gulf Island and Juan de Fuca were recently exempt from the tax.

RELATED: Sidney to ask the province to rethink speculation tax

Other municipalities around Greater Victoria are sounding the alarm on the tax. Sidney recently voted unanimously to ask Premier John Horgan to reconsider the tax and an exemption as well.

In Langford, council voted to ask the province to opt out of the tax during a council meeting earlier this week.

Young added those who have purchased property in the West Shore, many on Bear Mountain, as a secondary home and don’t want to pay the tax will simply sell their homes and never come back.

RELATED: Speculation, foreign buyers’ tax won’t solve B.C.’s housing crisis: economist

“You shouldn’t be penalized if you’re from Alberta and buying a resort property or a second home anywhere in this country,” said Young, noting the province should invest in affordable housing rather than implement more taxes, and should have looked at the repercussions of such a tax.

“It may look good on paper, but there is going to be a serious problem here. When you take people away, you’re actually killing jobs for the people who live here who need to buy a house or pay a mortgage … When they stop coming, there’s going to be a whole bunch of homes for sale and the price of homes is going to drop like a rock.”

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